FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 4/5/19

With no clear-cut studs, Shane Bieber stands out as Friday's top pitcher. Is he worth paying up for on an eight-game slate?

In daily fantasy baseball, success starts with nailing the starting pitcher spot in your lineup.

When compared to hitters, pitching performance tends to be much more predictable and stable throughout the course of the season. You know what you're getting from a top-level ace when you roster him: probably a dominant effort with only one or two implosions per season. In contrast, even the game's best hitters have days at the plate when they go 0-for-4.

As a result, lineup construction should begin with the starting pitcher. Each day we will highlight a starter to consider from each pricing tier, and we'll also look at one contrarian play for tournaments. Who should you consider on today's main slate?

High-Priced Stud

Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians

at Toronto Blue Jays
FanDuel Price: $8,900

This is a bit of a tricky slate to navigate. Only Nick Pivetta tops the $9,000 barrier (at $9,100), and there are 10 pitchers between $7,200 and $8,100. If you're looking to pay up in this semi-expensive tier, Shane Bieber appears to be the best bet.

The Toronto Blue Jays, Bieber's opponent, sport the lowest implied team total of the day at 2.75, and for good reason -- they rank 23rd in team wOBA (.270), and are striking out a healthy 23.5% clip in the young 2019 season. Bieber posted an 11.4% swinging-strike rate last year, which he will look to continue today.

We have Bieber projected for the second-highest scoring output of the day, so check out the Indians ace at the top of the pitching pile.

Mid-Priced Option

Joe Musgrove, Pittsburgh Pirates

vs Cincinnati Reds
FanDuel Price: $7,800

Making his first start this season, Joe Musgrove looks to attack a Cincinnati Reds offense that has scuffled a bit out of the gates. Over a six-game sample, the Reds rank second-worst in team wOBA (.231), 10th-worst in strikeout rate (26.3%), and have scored a league-worst 11 runs.

Musgrove was fantastic last season for the Pittsburgh Pirates, recording an 11.4% swinging-strike rate over 115 1/3 innings pitched. And at home, where tonight's contest will take place, Musgrove was especially tough to hit with a 31.6% hard-hit rate, 28.4% fly-ball rate, and only a .308 wOBA.

With the Reds struggling at the plate, check out Musgrove as an intriguing option.

Low-Priced Option/Contrarian Play

Pablo Lopez, Miami Marlins

at Atlanta Braves
FanDuel Price: $7,300

As the fifth-cheapest option on the main slate, Pablo Lopez makes for a tantalizing option to consider. He will definitely have his work cut out for him against an Atlanta Braves squad that has been ready to go in 2019.

So far this season, the Braves have rocked their way to a .370 wOBA (fifth-best) and 15.7% walk rate (league best), while only striking out 20.8% of the time. The Marlins also sit as one of the heaviest underdogs on the slate (+135), meaning it could be a tough day to get a win.

But Lopez showcased his skill set in his first start out, recording an 18.2% swinging-strike rate over 5 1/3 innings in a win over the Colorado Rockies. He also didn't give out any free passes and fired a first-pitch strike 63.6% of the time.

He will be lined up with a very challenging offense, but Lopez could make for a cheap, contrarian option in DFS lineups.

Matt Kupferle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matt Kupferle also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username MKupferle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.